for Underweight Children
In a country
where many people suffer from obesity, it is tough to find
information on how to help your kids gain weight. Here are
some tips I've found to help my children and other family
members put on weight. Please note that if your children are
underweight you should have them evaluated by a doctor to
see if their weight problems could be caused by underlying
with your doctor to see if your child could be underweight
due to a food allergy, food intolerance or other medical issue.
Celiac disease is one relatively common disorder that
can cause nutrient absorption problems and stunted growth.
Children diagnosed with Celiac disease have to avoid eating
any wheat or other gluten containing foods. A child we know
with Celiac disease loses weight almost immediately if he
has any gluten containing foods at all.
A friend's child was underweight due to a milk allergy.
Dairy allergies are also common problems and another area
to consider. Besides having a medical check up, you can also
just try different diets for a week and track your child's
weight each day. For one week keep your child off gluten products
and just see if that helps. Another week try restricting dairy
products and see if that results in any weight gain. I have
noticed with my children that if they have a lot of dairy
products they do tend to lose weight, though interestingly
they grow taller. (Having low fat milk each day was a weight
loss tip published in a recent magazine article from one of
The Biggest Loser winners.) Research studies are conflicting
on whether milk helps children lose or gain weight, so trial
and error may be the best way to determine what is best for
how many calories your child eats each day. Children can
be underweight for a variety of reasons. Some may not have
much of an appetite and may not be taking in enough calories.
Another possible reason is that your child may be eating enough
food but is not absorbing the foods he or she eats. Tracking
daily calorie intake, even if just for a few days, can help
to narrow down the possible causes for your child's low body
keep track of this yourself with a pencil and paper in a notebook,
or if you are really serious about tracking your child's calorie
intake, you can buy a nutrition software program. The program
I bought for my kids was called Nutribase.
I bought this program and it was really an eye opener. It
became obvious after just using the program for a few days
that my kids simply were not taking in enough calories, let
alone getting the RDA for all of the important vitamins an
minerals. With this program you
can enter what your child eats each day and compare the actual
values to recommended amounts of calories, fats, protein and
most vitamins and minerals based on your child's goal weight
and activity level.
deficiency is one possible cause of a lack of appetite.
Click here for a list of foods
high in zinc. Personally, I think it is better to try
to get zinc from your diet rather than taking artificial supplements.
Supplements often have unintended side effects.This web site
has a list of the symptoms
that may be associated with zinc deficiency.
there are not many books on how to gain weight, I've found
it is helpful to read diet books to understand how to lose
weight and then do the opposite. Here are some tips for
gaining weight gleaned from the book Volumetrics.
premise of this book is that research has shown that people
tend to eat the same volume (about five pounds) of food each
day, whether that food is high or low in calories. The book
contains charts that provide the energy density of a variety
of foods. The object of the book is to show people how to
lose weight by eating more of the foods with low energy density
in order to feel full without going hungry.
underweight family members, I try to provide them with some
of the foods listed in the book that are low in weight
but high in energy density, but still healthy, like nuts and
dried fruits. There are many foods in the book like cookies
and doughnuts that have high energy densities but only provide
empty calories. I try to avoid serving those at home and only
focus on foods that are both nutritious as well as
healthy foods with high energy densities:
tossed with with olive or canola oil and shredded cheese.
Sometimes I also use spreadable butter products made with
canola oil. This keeps up the calories but the canola oil
reduces the amount of saturated fat compared to using straight
butter. I like to use durum wheat pastas made partly with
dried vegetables, such as spinach or tomato, for some added
- almonds, pecans, pistachios, peanuts (technically a legume),
fruit - raisins, fruit leathers, and dried bananas are
good for weight gain. You can eat a dried plum much quicker
than a whole plum but they both have the same amount of
calories. Even for older kids, baby foods like banana or
banana with strawberries can make a healthy, relatively
high calorie snack. I think baby food is helpful for
weight gain because the blending and mixing with water
make it easier to digest.
calories vegetables include peas, corn, potatoes, yams and
sweet potatoes. My kids like mashed potatoes made with
butter and cream.
to the Volumetric's authors, water based drinks do not have
much effect on appetite, so they caution to avoid high calorie
drinks. However using this logic in reverse to gain weight,
then it would seem like nutritious high calorie drinks,
like fruit and vegetable juices, may be helpful for weight
thing that has helped my kids gain weight is to eat more
fat, especially butter and cream cheese.
For breakfast they have:
fried in butter
with cream cheese
would get fat if they ate like this, but with my kids it seems
to be the kind of food they need to simply keep from being underweight.
For snacks they usually have more high calorie, high fat foods
with cream cheese or butter
butter and jelly sandwiches
corn chips with guacamole or layered taco dip (refried beans,
guacamole, sour cream, cheese, salsa)
salad with lots of mayonnaise
made with fruit and full fat coconut milk
(not whole wheat) with speadable butter
dinner I make them foods like:
chops fried in butter
sweet potatoes made with butter and full fat coconut milk
and cheese made with butter
with lots of dressing
include healthy, lower calorie foods along with the above,
such as blueberries, carrots, bananas, peas, baked beans,
etc. But without the high fat foods listed above my kids
just stay really underweight.
of my kids put on 10 pounds in a couple of weeks
simply by eating more often and eating more high fat foods
like the ones listed above.
to some weight gain tips from my Ayurvedic (traditional Indian)
medicine books, people who are underweight often do better
with cooked foods. I think this is because cooking usually
makes foods easier to digest. Cooking also helps destroy any
bacteria, fungus, or other unwanted life forms that may be
on the food. I know that a lot of people say raw foods are
easier to digest, but from personal experience I would tend
to disagree. Personally I think well cooked foods, especially
foods that have been simmered for a long time, likes soups
and stews, are easiest to digest.
tip is obvious, but still worth mentioning: try to make
reasonably healthy foods your kids really enjoy eating,
especially if you have picky eaters. Your kids will probably
eat a lot more if what you serve tastes delicious. I bought
some books with healthy recipes and snack ideas especially
for kids to give me some more menu ideas.
plenty of foods for each meal. Serve foods buffet style
so your child can easily help himself to as many servings
as he wants to eat.
dessert try serving fruit with real whipped cream for some
extra calories. If your child has a dairy allergy you
can use coconut cream instead (available at Amazon if you
can't find it your local grocery store).
healthy snacks easily available so your kids can feed
themselves when you busy or not around.
some reason many kids don't mind eating the same foods over
and over again, just like they can watch the same movie thirty
times. If your children like a certain food, such as macaroni
and cheese, and from your diet logs it seems to help them
gain weight, then serve it every night of the week along with
a variety of other foods.
Always plan to have enough food for leftovers at meals. Then
if your children have an increased appetite for a given meal,
you will have enough food to keep feeding them until they
are full. Otherwise, you will have leftovers for healthy snacking.
Weights for Healthy Kids: What Should I Do if My Child Is
include: macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,
crackers with hummus, barley and beef soup with cornbread,
fruit smoothies made with ice cream and more.